THE TOXIC TRUTH ABOUT ENERGY DRINKS
So are you among those who are habitual to guzzling an energy drink to revitalize your mind and body, boost your energy to focus better? Think again- The can might just be an easy catch for instant gratification with a hidden cost to pay later.
The growing consumption of energy drinks has become a cause of concern for health authorities across the world. Apart from the small presence of taurine and vitamins, the most active ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine. While some brands have just 50 milligrams, others pack as much as 215 mg. To put that in perspective, an average 8-ounce cup of coffee contains roughly 100 mg and most experts advise limiting your caffeine to 400 mg a day to the maximum.
Energy drinks are heavily sweetened and easy to drink, which appeals to younger demographic but can create health havoc in the body.
Energy drinks can be dangerous on their own, yet they are more perilous when combined with alcohol. Incidentally this pairing has gone mainstream with bars serving new breed of concoction of alcohol mixed with energy drink. Wise is to stay away!
Energy drinks are emerging as a public health threat and are increasingly consumed by youth internationally. It contains high levels of caffeine, sugar, and novel ingredients, and are often marketed through youth-oriented media and venues.
Medical experts believe that there are increased incidents of dangerous side effects of energy drinks affecting the younger demographics of the society. Some of the adverse effects may include:
1. Cardiac Arrest: Those underlying heart conditions have gone into cardiac arrest just after a few energy drinks
2. Headaches and Migraines: Too many energy drinks can lead to severe headaches from caffeine withdrawal symptoms
3. Increased Anxiety: With two different genetic variations in their adenosine receptors. They are prone to a feeling of increased anxiety while consuming caffeinated beverages
4. High Blood Pressure: Caffeinated products are harmful to people with high blood pressures. They should use caution and judgment before consuming an energy drink.
5. Insomnia: Energy drinks do a good job of keeping people awake, but when abused they can cause people to num sleep altogether
6. Vomiting: Consumption of too many energy drinks can lead to nausea and vomiting leading to severe dehydration at times.
7. Type 2 Diabetes: Energy drinks are high in sugar; which can lead to type 2 diabetes
Downing energy drinks may have adverse reactions ranging from heart palpitations to chest pain to seizures also. Overall, when drunk solo and in moderation, energy drinks can be fairly safe products.
With inputs from Dr Devender Taneja, senior physician with specialisation in treatment of diabetes and cardiac management.
This article was first published in the print version of SUBURB March 2019 issue.